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Today, we are joined by James Tierney, who has lead a very unique journey that includes being a college professor, starting multiple tutoring/coaching businesses, and launching an improv group/brick and mortar location. While in college, he took improv as an elective and fell in love with it. He ended up choosing his graduate school to be near Los Angeles to be near the comedy and improv scene there.

After finishing his masters at UC Irvine, James launched a tutoring business. He combined his love of education and teaching with his entrepreneurial bug. After a couple years, he sold this business because he and his wife were looking for more stability. He received a full-time position as a professor of economics at Plattsburgh University. Eventually he transitioned to Penn State University and spent (7.5) years as a professor of economics there.

During this time, James started an improv group in the local community called Happy Valley Improv. This snowballed into something bigger as they started hosting corporate workshops and weekly classes. In 2021, they opened their first brick and mortar location called the Blue Brick Theater. Simultaneously during Covid, James noticed that students were looking for more resources at Penn State University to get the support they need during their college experience. This led him to open his second coaching and tutoring business called Tierney Education.

Fast Forward to today and James officially quit his job as a full-time professor. He is scaling both businesses and is excited to keep growing both in the Happy Valley community.

Check out the conversation as we dive into the following:

  • How taking improv helps in both business and entrepreneurship
  • How going through an accelerator to build an app and failing, helped him with starting other businesses
  • Why spending money doesn’t always need to have an immediate ROI
  • Why having safety nets is so important when deciding whether to quit your job and/or start a business
  • How he doesn’t have a lot of down time, but his work in improv is a form a relaxation for him

Listen to James share his story and get inspired with his amazing advice to people thinking about following a similar path. Check out the full conversation on YouTube or Spotify by clicking the links below.

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Podcasts

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